Classic old time radio showing starring Jack Webb (1946, 1949) and Ben Morris (1947-48) as Pat Novak, a street wise guy who rents boats and anything else a good man pays a bad one to do.
Novak is always getting into scrapes when taking on jobs for hire or occassionally as a favor to a friend. When he does, he goes to see "The Only Honest Guy I Know" an ex-Doctor and a boozer named Jocko Madigan (played by Tudor Owens). Novak's nemesis is Lieutenant Hellman of Homicide (played by Raymond Burr and others) who's constantly trying to get Novak sent to the gas chamber.
The show is formulaic, but it's a work of art, with fantastic poetry. From Novak's fantastic similies and brilliant descriptions of the Femme Fatales to Jocko Madigan's philisophical drunekn speeches, and the verbal (and sometimes phyiscal) fisticuffs between Novak and Hellman, Pat Novak for Hire is memorable from start to finish.
December 15, 2020 Subject:
The best of Jack Webb
Thi s the best thing WEBB has ever done, i love it moree as i grew up in San Francisco, and i can well relate to the streets all over the bay area...
January 19, 2020 Subject:
Gritty and in your face
Pat is hard boiled,I mean 20 minute hard boiled.Just listen and you can almost smell the cigarette smoke and stale beer.It’s as real as it gets.
December 12, 2017 Subject:
The stories stay with you like a cheap tattoo on a boozin' maiden aunt - you feel you've seen them before but the wrinkles keep you from turinng away.
January 6, 2017 Subject:
I think that not only every cliche is used in this series, but a great many were invented here! The show is clearly not to be taken seriously, and I can imagine Leslie Neilson as Pat Novak! In EVERY episode, Pat Novak gets the living daylights beaten out of him, and he's always the FIRST suspect of every murder. I think it's great.
January 30, 2016 Subject:
About "Pat Novak"
Pat Novak for hire, is the POLICE SQUAD! for Old Time Radio ! ( especially episodes with Jack Webb ) Cliches have to originate somewhere, and it's my guess that any and all cliches that apply to the detective and investigating genre of shows began here ! The writers of this show clearly meant that this show was not to be taken seriously, but most listeners did, so the show never caught on. If you listen as intended, it's really fuuny ! My favorite: " She was wearing a V-neck sweater, and the designer beleived in using capital letters . . . "
Reviewer:Man from Arles
November 21, 2013 Subject:
Surely One of the Best
Pat Novak? Never fails to satisfy; snappy and original dialogue. Novak is always hard-boiled and cynical. He operates just this side of the law, but is never adverse to making a fast buck.
I'd place "Pat Novak for Hire" in third place, just behind Philip Marlow and Dan Holiday (Box 13).
November 26, 2012 Subject:
My Favorite OTR
Even though there are only a couple dozen of these, I listen to at least one every night. My laptop is next to my bed with 150 gigs of OTR.
Listening to the back and forth banter between Novak and Hellman (Raymond Burr) has me nearly rolling out of bed onto the floor.
Hellman: "He didn't walk outta here with a hole in his back."
Novak: "I don't know Hellman, don't cut him short...you do it with one in your head."
Novak is wrestling with a woman who says to him, "I don't know if your making love or just troubled...but LET GO OF MY ARM!"
It's just non stop GREAT!
Tudor Owens as Jocko, the drunk sidekick, is also a hoot. The talented and versatile Virginia Gregg shows up frequently as a supporter, too.
Tastes change over time, but I doubt this will EVER fall from # 1 in my list of OTR.
Has to be heard to be believed. One of the best. Jack Webb at his finest. Great scripts and performances.
May 25, 2010 Subject:
hire him for free at the archive!
fantastic audio noir , a must have for fans and newcomers to the genre alike ! great qoutable lines that wouldnt be out of place in any of the genre movies of that era . thanks a lot for supplying these !
March 7, 2010 Subject:
"Pat Novak for Hire," is Good Listening
Both Jack Webbb and Ben Morris have turns playing the role of "Pat Novak," with Webb the last to be on the show. Each actor brings a different style and interpretation to the role. Both actors are appreciated by me: one is not better or worse, just a different approach and rendition to the role on the show. I remember Jack Webb as "Pat Novak," and it is a treat for me to listen as Ben Morris captures a different nuance to the role. Very good listening.